Return to the radar

22nd March 2013 – 5.04 pm

So we've spooked a pair of ratting battlecruisers, and a potential gasser in the process. Now what? Well, I'm in a class 2 w-space system, entered from a K162 in high-sec, and there's at least a static wormhole to class 3 w-space to find, if not the system the Drakes came from. I may as well give the system a quick scan. I warp away from the radar site I scared the Drakes from to launch probes, in the slim hope that they were just taking a break and will return, which means getting within directional scanner range of the local tower. And, would you believe it, the Drakes are back.

Not only are the Drakes back, but they are at the tower. They are local to C2b, and not come from a different system. That's unexpected, and a little peculiar, as the ships definitely stopped being in the system for a short while. Even so, I warp to the tower to see what they do, and watch as one Drake warps back towards the radar site, the second staying at the tower for now. I follow to watch the first Drake once again engage the Sleepers, and alert glorious leader Fin that we have a target.

There are seven Sleeper cruisers ganging up on the Drake, which, even in a C2, is perhaps a little too many for me to withstand whilst trying to take down another capsuleer's battlecruiser. For now, I wait, and watch the Drake whittle down the cruisers to a more manageable number. It takes a while, though, even for a six-year old character. Both Fin and I start to sense a trap-ish vibe to this return.

Because of our shared vibe, I bounce off the local tower to see what the other pilot is doing. Floating, that's what. He's still in a Drake, so if this is a trap then he's either holding character well or not hiding their intentions particularly well. I go back to the radar site, where there are still too many Sleeper cruisers to engage our target, but I can still take a closer look. The Drake is moving, which I initially took to be for damage mitigation, but now the battlecruiser has moved far from the created Sleeper wrecks and cruisers. I want to see what he's doing.

Drake aligns out of the radar site

Sure enough, the Drake is taking precautions. The ship is aligned to the fourth planet, which will let him leave the site with moment's notice, making it more difficult for me to stop him, particularly with the recalibration delay from dropping my cloak. But if I can get in front of the Drake I could bump him out of alignment, hopefully giving me the few seconds I'll need to gain a positive lock and disrupt his warp engines. I pick a wreck that looks to be in rough alignment with the Drake and planet, and bounce out towards the planet and back in at range to the wreck. Needless to say, my rough attempt fails miserably.

Even if I were in a good position now the Drake has realigned to another planet, probably because his path has taken him far from the still-active Sleepers. I can try to get in front of him again, this time being a bit smarter about it. I can't get close to the Drake whilst under normal cloaked speed, but I can manoeuvre my Loki strategic cruiser perpendicular to the Drake so that I end up with his ship between mine and the planet he's aligned to. I bookmark my current spot, note the range of the Drake, and bounce off the far planet and back in to the radar site, gauging my return distance so that I should appear in front of and close to the battlecruiser.

Lining up the Drake to give it a jolt

The second attempt is much better. I am a little above the Drake, but only a shade over ten kilometres away, and in front of him. This is a good position, as dipping down should, when I decloak, let me bump the Drake significantly out of alignment. I start my manoeuvre, call for Fin to jump in to the system and hold in her Legion strategic cruiser, and decloak. A pulse of my micro warp drive sends my prow in to the Drake's, giving him a good bump and, from that, enough time for me to get a positive lock. My warp scrambler activates and, with the Drake snared, Fin warps to my position.

Ambushing the Drake with glorious leader Fin's assistance on guns

I settle in to an orbit around the battlecruiser, micro warp drive active to keep my speed up and mitigate the missile damage, as my autocannons rake in to the ship. Aii has turned up and is heading our way with another ship, and Fin's Legion drops out of warp nearby to add some mighty damage to my own. The Drake focusses damage on me, probably wisely, and my own shields take a bit of a beating, but nothing serious yet. And here come two more ships. Aii is entering the system to help, but before he arrives the second Drake comes from the local tower, much as expected.

Second Drake arrives to spring their counter-ambush

The first Drake was bait, of sorts at least, as the second has been refitted with a warp disruptor, which gets applied to my ship, stopping me fleeing. That's okay for the moment, particularly as my engines are only disrupted and not scrambled, which may be important soon. I'm chewing through my ancillary shield booster charges, but they last long enough to see the first Drake explode nicely. The pod flees, Aii in our Onyx heavy interdictor not being able to position himself in time, and we shift focus to the newly arrived second Drake.

I say 'we', I mean my colleagues. I start shooting the second Drake too, but running my micro warp drive against the first Drake has sucked my capacitor mostly dry, and my ancillary shield booster has run out of charges. I can't stay here much longer, not whilst I remain the focus of our prey. Thankfully, not being scrammed helps. I turn my ship directly away from the Drake holding me and make a break for it, pulsing my micro warp drive when my capacitor has the juice for it. I'm pulling clear at about the same speed as my shields drop, which is a little unsettling. I'm still not sure if Minmatar ships have armour, as such, and I don't want to test this theory out in such an expensive ship.

The occasional recharge pulse of my capacitor gives just enough juice for my micro warp drive to get me out of warp disruption range of the second Drake, still shooting me. I activate my warp drive, now that I can, and get clear, with some shields remaining. Back in my perch in the radar site, I pause to reload my guns and recharge my shield a little. I want to head back for the pod of the second Drake, but his ship's already deep in armour damage. By the time I turn around and warp back the three hundred kilometres I return to a pair of wrecks only, the pod already fled. We loot and shoot the wrecks, and clear the pocket, getting a 'gf' in the local channel for our efforts, which I reciprocate.

Both Drakes succumb to our firepower

Aftermath of the combat in the radar site

That was fun! Going back against the Drake by myself would probably have ended badly for me, so having Fin and Aii as support made the ambush successful. And the Legion, despite the energy neutralisers turning out to be useless against the entirely passive Drakes, really ripped the Drakes to shreds, although the Onyx made a good show too. In the end, a good hunt, with a little skill and a bit of luck with the timing, gave us two good kills and some excitement.

  1. 2 Responses to “Return to the radar”

  2. Tell me again, exactly, how is it different from suicide ganking (gate, not mining, that's just shooting blind stationary kittens) ? You need to find targets and it might take a while. Suicide gankers need to find targets as well, and it might take awhile. You usually take only on someone you clearly have massive advantage over - exactly same thing with suicide ganking :) I am not criticizing you, I am just starting to think that suicide ganking is not that different from WH PVP :) (And most of other PVP engagements, really)

    By Dzhee on Mar 23, 2013

  3. I'm not sure I've made or denied that comparison, but no problem.

    There are some natural similarities, because, as you suggest, it's all PvP of some sort. There are also some differences. I think the main difference between my choice of targets and suicide ganking—apart from the suicide bit, which distinguishes the result but not who to attack—is that a suicide ganker's target believes they are implicitly safe.

    There are warning messages everywhere for entering w-space systems concerning a pilot's safety, and that of their ship. If a pilot is in w-space, they have no real recourse to complain if they are targeted, engaged, and destroyed, by whoever. But pilots minding their own business in high-sec are under the impression, wrongly, and not really arguably wrongly, that they are safe as long as they're minding their own business.

    Ganking is ganking. Popping a gooing Bestower is not exactly honourable or risky in itself, but the target is still more legitimate than one under Concord protection, depending on your ethical stance. And shooting a target than can shoot back is certainly different than targeting a purely industrial ship. I'm not judging, though. It's all allowed.

    By pjharvey on Mar 23, 2013

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